FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information:
Prevent Blindness Ohio
Phone: 800-301-2020 ext. 119
- Millions with Refractive Error, Eye Disease at Increased Risk for Falls -
Columbus, OH(Sept. 19, 2013) – Ohio Governor John R. Kasich has proclaimed September 22, 2013 as Ohio Falls Prevention Awareness Day and is encouraging all Ohioans to reduce the risks associated with falls.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans aged 65 and older and they are largely preventable. Only 14 percent of Ohioans are age 65 or older, yet this group accounts for more than 80 percent of fatal falls. The Ohio Department of Health reports that fatal fall rates among these older Ohioans increased more than 160 percent from 2000 to 2011.
Unfortunately, those with impaired vision are more likely to experience falls and injuries. Visual impairment, which can include decreased visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, and/or visual field, has been found to influence the risk of falls. Vision impairment can affect balance. It also increases the risk of tripping or misjudging steps, stairs or curbs. Based on data from the 2012 “Vision Problems in the U.S.” study, more than 48 million Americans over the age of 40 have refractive error, in addition to the more than 36 million with cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)states that one out of three people ages 65 and older falls each year. And, according to the National Council on Aging,every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. People who fall are 2 to 3 times more likely to fall again. By the year 2020, direct and indirect costs related to injuries from falls are expected to reach $54.9 billion.
The CDCalso states that most falls are caused by a combination of multiple risk factors. Some risk factors can be modifiable including:
· Poor vision
· Lower body weakness
· Difficulties with gait and balance
· Use of psychoactive medications
· Postural dizziness
· Problems with feet and/or shoes
· Home hazards
“Because people with vision impairments are more than twice as likely to fall as those without, keeping a regular schedule of eye examinations with an eye care professional can help avoid debilitating falls in the future,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio. “We hope that by alerting the public to the dangers of falls, as well as educating them on ways to avoid them, we can help prevent unnecessary injuries. And, maintaining healthy vision is one way to accomplish this!”
For more information about National Falls Prevention Awareness Day or general eye health, please contact Prevent Blindness Ohio at (800) 301-2020 or visit pbohio.org.
About Prevent Blindness Ohio
Prevent Blindness Ohio, founded in 1957, is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. Prevent Blindness Ohio is an affiliate of Prevent Blindness America, the country’s second-oldest national voluntary health organization. For more information or to make a donation call 800-301-2020 or visit us on the web at pbohio.org.